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Paul Casey to stick with match play strategy
February 22, 2011

Paul Casey’s strategy at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship has been to play the course rather than his opponent, so much so he barely knew who he would face in Wednesday’s opening round.

The Briton’s tactics have certainly been successful though, as he has reached the final here for the last two years and plans to maintain the same aggressive approach this week.

“I tend to play the golf course not the player,” Casey told reporters at Dove Mountain’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on Monday.

“By doing that and making lots of birdies and being aggressive and knowing what you’ve got to do on putts, I seem to make a lot of putts.

“I have a game plan of how to get around this golf course. And it’s something I don’t flinch from, I don’t change that.”

Casey, the world number six, only learned earlier in the day that he would face 60th-ranked Australian Richard Green in the first round of the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event.

“I’ve never looked ahead,” the Arizona-based Englishman said. “I’ve never looked at the brackets, I don’t like to get sucked into thinking I’ve got a difficult bracket (draw), I’ve got an easy bracket.

“I know every match out here is extremely difficult. Every opponent is dangerous. I only found out I was playing Richard Green this morning when somebody told me.”

Casey, who clinched the 2006 World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in England, has always relished the challenge of one-on-one golf.

“I’ve always been a player who’s been fairly aggressive on the golf course, makes a lot of birdies and then occasionally will throw in the odd mistake,” the 10-times European Tour winner said.

“I also think I’ve had a very good approach mentally to playing match play. I always feel if you keep the ball in play, and you’re very consistent and you put a lot of pressure on the other guy, that’s very difficult to play against.

Casey’s record at Dove Mountain is certainly spectacular, although he would dearly love to go one better this year.

He was beaten 4&3 by Australian Geoff Ogilvy in the 2009 final before being edged out 4&2 by fellow Englishman Ian Poulter for last year’s title.

“I try to take the positive out of it,” Casey said. “One of the keys to playing good match play golf is to eliminate mistakes, and both Geoff and Ian were very good at doing that. They really didn’t do much, if anything, wrong.

“I’ve had a good run here. I like to think I can get myself into position to win this thing again. Really repeat what I’ve done up until the final the last couple of years and then see if we can go one better.”

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